The endometrial tumor cell line HHUA carries mutations in two mismatch repair (MMR) genes MSH3 and MSH6. We have established an MSH3-deficient HHUA/chr.2 cell line by introducing human chromosome 2, which carries wild-type MSH6 and MSH2 genes, to HHUA cells. Introduction of chromosome 2 to HHUA cells partially restored G:G MMR activity to the cell extract and reduced the frequency of mutation at the hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (hprt*) locus to about 3% that of the parental HHUA cells, which is five-fold the frequency in MMR-proficient cells, indicating that the residual mutator activity in HHUA/chr.2 is due to an MSH3-deficiency in these cells. The spectrum of mutations occurring at the HPRT locus of HHUA/chr.2 was determined with 71 spontaneous 6TG(r) clones. Base substitutions and +/-1 bp frameshifts were the major mutational events constituting, respectively, 54% and 42% of the total mutations, and more than 70% of them occurred at A:T sites. A possible explanation for the apparent bias of mutations to A:T sites in HHUA/chr.2 is haploinsufficiency of the MSH6 gene on the transferred chromosome 2. Comparison of the mutation spectra of HHUA/chr.2 with that of the MSH6-deficient HCT-15 cell line [S. Ohzeki, A. Tachibana, K. Tatsumi, T. Kato, Carcinogenesis 18 (1997) 1127-1133.] suggests that in vivo the MutSalpha (MSH2:MSH6) efficiently repairs both mismatch and unpaired extrahelical bases, whereas MutSbeta (MSH2:MSH3) efficiently repairs extrahelical bases and repairs mismatch bases to a limited extent.